The ACE Act iNTRODUCED IN THE U.s. HOUSE to Better Enforce the Horse Protection Act, Crackdown on Animal Cruelty
U.S. Representatives Joe Neguse (D-CO), Steve Cohen (D-TN), and Dave Joyce (R-OH) introduced the Animal Cruelty Enforcement (ACE) Act, a bill forged in cooperation with Animal Wellness Action, Animal Wellness Foundation, Horses For Life Foundation, American Horse Protection Society, and the Center for a Humane Economy to step up federal action against perpetrators of malicious cruelty. The bill would establish a dedicated Animal Cruelty Crimes Division at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to aid in the investigation, enforcement, and prosecution of felony animal cruelty crimes.
The new DOJ section would concentrate on enforcing animal welfare criminal statutes such as the Horse Protection Act (HPA) of 1970 that was designed to stamp out the cruel practice of soring Tennessee Walking Horses. The ACE Act was conceived in part to help better enforce the HPA after nearly a decade of failed attempts to pass the Prevent All Soring Tactics (PAST) Act, and U.S. Dept. of Agriculture (USDA) regulations that would have eliminated the use of large-stacked shoes and ankle chains in the showring and revamped the industry’s corrupt self-policing program.
While all 50 states currently have laws in place to prohibit animal cruelty, enforcement of these laws across the U.S. and from the Department of Justice continue to see lengthy delays, with many crimes going unprosecuted completely. Dedicated staff at the Department of Justice, provided through the Animal Cruelty Enforcement Act, would facilitate much stronger enforcement of animal cruelty laws by providing specialized knowledge and a streamlined process for handling of these offenses.
“Proper enforcement of animal cruelty laws will protect animal welfare and help keep each of our communities safe from the violence often linked to these crimes,” said Rep. Neguse. “For too long the Department of Justice has missed the mark on providing timely and efficient prosecutions. The Animal Cruelty Enforcement Act, which I am proud to introduce today, seeks to right this by providing the necessary resources and staffing for efficient enforcement of these laws, so animals and communities alike are protected and justice is served."
For three years in a row, Congressmen Neguse has successfully advocated for funding to support enforcement of animal cruelty crimes at the federal level, passing multiple bipartisan amendments to House Appropriations legislation that provided the USDA Office of the Inspector General and the Department of Justice with additional funding to enforce federal animal cruelty laws.
Today, Representatives Steve Cohen (D-TN), Dina Titus (D-NV) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) re-introduced the Horse Transportation Safety Act (H.R.921) that would ban the transportation of horses across state lines in “double decker” trucks or trailers containing two or more levels stacked on top of one another. The bill has already garnered more than 100 cosponsors and is endorsed by animal welfare groups.
Congressman Cohen, a senior member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, last year applauded the inclusion of the Horse Transportation Safety Act in the House-passed Moving Forward Act. Congressman Cohen has championed the measure since 2008. This year’s version of the bill currently has 105 bipartisan cosponsors.
Horses deserve to be transported in as humane a manner as possible. Double-deck trailers do not provide adequate headroom for adult horses, and accidents involving double-deck trailers are a horrendous reminder that the practice is also dangerous to the driving public. I look forward to seeing this measure move forward as it did last year and be signed into law. — Congressman, Steve Cohen
In addition to the 105 cosponsors, the Horse Transportation Safety Act is endorsed by numerous animal welfare groups and organizations including; The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), Animal Wellness Action, Animal Wellness Foundation, Center for a Humane Economy, American Horse Protection Society, Horses For Life Foundation, American Wild Horse Campaign, and the Texas State Horse Council.
The use of double-decker trailers has been banned by the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) for horses that are bound for slaughter facilities, but permitted for horses transported for other reasons — including those used in rodeos.
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